Holiday Traditions- Advent

I write about candy A LOT, don’t I? Sorry, not sorry.

As a child I don’t remember having an Advent calendar. We weren’t religious and advent is a religious thing, I do believe, so that’d be why. Plus, I grew up mostly financially poor. There would have been no moola for such things.

I got them periodically for my own kids, as a cultural/countdown thing and ya know how THAT goes! Eaten all within a day or forgotten about and left to go stale. Gross by any account because the chocolates were those cheap waxy ones, yuck!

Now you can get much better quality not to mention there are countdown calendars with more then jst chocolate! A person could get beer, or make up, ties or lego. The possibilities are probably limitless.

I like to stick with chocolate:

Roger’s  Chocolates is a Canadian company and their customer service is MOST excellent. There was an issue with my locked gate and the delivery service but it wasn’t an issue for long, thanks to Betty Ann. She called me personally to solve the problem- before I was even aware that there may be a problem – and was sincere and lovely in all our encounters. Not only was Betty Ann a gem, I got the feeling the entire chain of command cared about me too. The whole experience was such a treat, especially in today’s world. 

Their products are good too but honestly, even if they were crap I’d still buy them. Just to do my part to keep places and people as delightful as Betty Ann and her team, in business. Ha Ha. ( Try their Victoria Creams! )

My new morning routine is as such:

Get Up. Take blood pressure. Drink coffee. Melt one delicious chocolate in my eager mouth. Eat breakfast.

What am I ever going to do when this is all over? Somebody please invent a reason to eat chocolate every day?

Oh wait! I’m alive.

That’s reason enough for me! 

What’s something you do unapologetically? (Who would we apologize to anyway? The whole idea of that seems so silly, doesn’t it? ) How often do you think about death? 

CANDY!- Jolly Rancher Juicy Fruit Explosion.

The older I get, the more I like candy.

I have no clue where this comes from. Maybe I’m regressing? 

Finally working up the courage to stick it to my childhood dentist? ( My uncle who was also a sadist ) 

Who knows.

Who cares! 

CANDY!

I found these yummy little buggers at my local dollar store:

I ate half the bag on my walk home – Jolly Rancher having the distinct honour of being the only brand who makes a watermelon I can stomach- and am here to say ” These babies are delicious!”

They come in three flavours: watermelon, green apple and cherry. I liked them all equally, each one being distinct and vibrant with flavour. Also, there is juicy goodness that squishes out, inside. Yum!

Now go get yourself some candy. It doesn’t have to be this kind. I don’t work for these people, get any kind you want! Just go out there and enjoy something sweet, just because. 

What candy are you crushing on lately?

November Book Brag *11

Eleven Books! Woot Woot! I’m so proud. 

The first book I read this month is not pictured because I’m lazy.

Bleeding Hearts by Scott Hay, a local author, was an interesting read. As a young man something shockingly horrible happens in his family and this book is all about the incident, the after effects and its impact on his life. I found the book to be very … Albertan. The story was something else, and I’m very grateful I’ve not had to experience such a thing. If you want a quick and simple read, this book is for you.

Depression: The Comedy by Jessica Holes was irritating at times, had me laughing out loud at others and in the end left me respecting the author. If you can get through certain aspects of the writing style, this book is a good read for anyone who has a brain.  I learned a thing or two and had a lot of a-ha moments. Always a win for me when that happens.

The Insight Guide : Scotland was one of the best guide books I’ve read in 45 years of living. It was interesting with its friendly and thorough style, not just informative. I felt like I was reading a novel or something.

HikerTrash by Erin Miller was excellent. I’ve read a LOT of books about hiking the PCT but I wasn’t bored once reading this one. Her writing style was descriptive and fun, I laughed a lot and recommend this book if you’re looking for some inspiration to hike something BIG!

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This one ^ was pretty good. That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam Its about a white family who adopt a black child. It had me cringing with second hand embarrassment a lot of the time. It left questions lingering within me after I was done. I just love that. A good read.

Still Mine by Amy Stuart was dark and gritty and weird and human. There are other books in the series – or at least one- and I’m not sure if I’ll read them or even how I feel about the character (who is on the run from her abusive husband and struggling with a drug addiction amongst other things) I have issues with addiction in the content I read because addiction plays a prominent role in my life but that’s personal to me. The book was a quick read at any rate and capably written.

Not horrible. Typical guide book. Not overly inspiring.

Oh my gosh, I love this one! Complicated content laid out in an engaging, easy to read manner. I felt smarter and so much more understanding of our species and the world we live in. I think this one should be required reading for all humans 🙂

 Book Club #1’s book. Its a collection of short stories. Weird short stories. There is a bit of a formula here. They were alright. I’m not a fan of short stories so take that into consideration. Would I recommend this one…meh. It is capably written though. Just not my jam.



Book Club #2’s book. An epic, delightful tale of witchcraft and other things. Not your typical story and not your typical characters. I really liked it. Its a little long but I may have felt that because I didn’t start reading it until a week before Book Club, ha ha. 

Loved this one! LOVED IT! Its written sort of … stream of consciousness style and its just so lovely and kind and informative and heartwarming/wrenching. A very good read on a very important subject.

What did you read in November? Anything good?

Western Family Crème Brie & Apple

Save On Foods had something that caught my eye the other week:

I like chicken. I like cheddar. I like apples. I like brie. I like cranberries…it was on sale, so I picked one up! I used to buy similar products all the time when my Hubs and I were first married. They were a good way to enjoy a “fancier” meal on a budget. That was really important to me, in my poor ass life and even now I still think its important for people to enjoy food that not only fills their bellies but their souls as well. 

Eeesh! Look at the sodium count.  

ANYway, here it is, still frozen:

And into the oven it went, only to come out like this:

Booo! I HATE it when that happens! All the stuff leaked out. I was starting to feel like this was going to suck. I understand there’s going to be a little leakage but geesh, this seems excessive. 

It looked alright otherwise. Nice colour.

The leaky stuff actually looked kinda pretty once I scraped it on top…

The inside:

Forgive me this photo.

As you can see there was very little filling on the inside but it didn’t really matter because the filling added absolutely nothing to the chicken. Instead of brie flavour there was just basic creaminess that could have come from any cheese. Don’t sell me on brie and then fail to deliver. And there was zero evidence of cheddar. I didn’t even know it was supposed to be present until I read the box whilst preparing the photos for this post!

There was a tartness but it could have been from vinegar for all I know because I got no cranberry flavour at all. Were those red bits even cranberry? Who knows! And there were these strange bits if unidentifiable gelatinous white things throughout. Onions? OH! Apples, according to the box. I couldn’t tell. Gross. I should never have to wonder what’s in my food.

Wonder I did not when it came to two things: Was salt added? and was this product frozen? , because those two elements were the only flavours that really shone through, sadly enough.

It wasn’t horrible. I ate it but I’m not sure I’d buy it again. There are better options out there. 

Have you tried such a thing? How was your experience? 

Salty, Fizzy & Sweet.

Somewhere in my interweb travels, I came across this southern ( as in American South ) treat.

Salted peanuts in Coke.

As a lover of many combinations the masses find strange, I was all over that!

The idea is to take a few swigs of your Coke, pour in your sleeve of salted peanuts and “Bottoms Up!”

Purists say it must be in a glass bottle to get the full experience. The only glass bottles of Coke I could find were diet and I’m morally opposed to diet anything, so my Coke was in a plastic bottle.

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My verdict? It was really good! Not weird or strange at all! Whoever invented this was fucking brilliant. The salty peanuts and their rich creaminess really cut through the sugar of the pop and complimented that signature caramel essence. The fizzy burn came through for a satisfying ending. I’m a total fan.

It was really filling. This would make for a meal. In fact, I think part of the lore is that farmer’s would eat this (drink this) “on the go” for lunch during their busy days.

Have you ever tried this combo? What did you think?  Do you have another combo that others find strange? Tell me all about it! I’m always looking for interesting new things!

 

 

October Book Brag *7

I read seven books this month. That is pretty sad…didn’t I read more the month I went away? Let me check…Oh EM GEE, yes! I read 8 books last month. I’m a slacker!

ANYway, here is my round-up for the month of October.

 

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby is about an interesting girl with an interesting dream. Only what happens in the book was pretty damn ordinary in the end. Not horrible. A quick read.

The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew is a memoir. It was honest and kind of long-winded. As someone who’s long winded herself, I can relate. Not horrible. I was hoping for something fabulous and profound because I respect and admire this chap’s work in our country. Once again, my expectations failed me 🙂

The Elephant In The Brain by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson. This is a book about our hidden motives in everyday life. Basically, your brain is a selfish jerk BUT your brain doesn’t want you to KNOW its a selfish jerk and it especially doesn’t want other people to know! It’s all ok though because ALL human brains can be selfish jerks. Absolutely fascinating. Intelligent and interesting. Not at all dry and written in such a way that the science behind all of this is easy to understand. Highly recommend!

People Tend To Tell Me Thing by Amy Dickinson. Amy writes an advice column and this book is not really about that BUT it’s still a really good book because Amy is an interesting and intelligent person. She’s clever and unique and really honest about herself- She must have read The Elephant In The Brain!- and it all makes for a great read. I felt a kinship with her, as a messy human. Highly recommend!

 

Little Green by Tish Cohen was engaging. Its a story about two people, a marriage and what happens in that marriage when something goes really wrong. A quick read. I had strong emotional responses, good and bad to both main characters but the ending pissed me right off. Read it. Its not a waste of time.

Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart was slow for me at first but then once I settled into it, I found myself quite liking it. Its part of a series of books based on a set of real life sisters, who lived unusual-for the times- lives. I grew to like most of the characters and was irritated by others. I love it when a book makes me feel something, so this one is a win for me.

The Marriage Of Opposites by Alice Hoffman. I think I may be growing out of this author. This is the second book I’ve read of hers that has disappointed me. In fact this one made me openly scoff. It was a long, complicated, fussy story about a family, told in two parts. The first part is mostly about the mother as a young woman and the second is about her son. In between all sorts of other things are woven with people acting like assholes and hypocrites throughout. Maybe it was my mood but this book is a definite nah for me.

Okie dokie! My goal for November is to read ten books. I don’t think this is going to be a problem because you see, I have a real problem! I added waay too many books to my holds list at the library and they’ve all come in at once. Ooops! Wish me luck.

 

Belgium Waffle Breakfast Sandwich Review.

So, Tim Horton’s (Or Tim Hotton’s, if you’re in India) has a new menu item that I was intrigued by: The Belgium Waffle Breakfast Sandwich.

We were out and about early to pick up the granddaughter so that’s what I chose for my breakfast!

This is what it looks like on their website:

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This is what it looked like in my lap while driving (sorry, its blurry) :

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Pretty much the same, right? Not a total lie like Amarula. 

The first thing we noticed as we (Hubs and I) unwrapped them, was the smell. Solid maple. Oooooh. Then we took our first bites.

Solid sugar! Which I guess is to be expected but I was a little confused because there was no real maple flavour.

Weird, but OK.

The next thing I tasted was that pepper. I think it comes from the sausage which other than the peppery tastes was pretty much non-existent flavour wise. The egg was also there but not there and thank Goddess for the cheese because I really think its fake salty creaminess cut through some of the sugar taste. I appreciated the cheese! The waffles themselves were not entirely crisp all the way through, only so at the cross hatches. I liked that, the hubs did not. It wasn’t falling apart soft, just sort of mushy in spots and the whole thing held together well. There was an over all texture of sugary graininess. It was like eating a breakfast sandwich made between two doughnuts. It was like someone had dipped the waffles in a grainy simple syrup.

In the end, the Hubs said ,

“It’s not horrible.  I imagine its hard to keep the waffles crisp when you’re cooking for so many customers”

I liked it. I’d eat it again, if for no other reason than to see if Tim’s is consistent. I wish it was less sweet and less peppery with a more savoury profile but I thought it was good. I really liked the crisp bits at the crosshatching and the way the cheese cut through the whole thing.

I kinda wanna make my own version. Maybe watch for that here!